If you are somehow still unconvinced that optimized content on your website aligned with your buyer personas still doesn't matter, you probably shouldn't be in this industry. Sorry to be so blunt. Have you considering spelunking? I think the content demands might be lower in that field.
Back to content. With Google's intense focus on content, many agencies and internal marketing departments depend on writing services like Blogmutt, Writer Access, Zerys and independent freelance writers. Pick your poison.
Inevitably, when working with writers you will at some point receive a crappy article for approval. It will make you cringe. It might piss you off.
"Did the writer just completely phone this piece in?" Maybe. "Is the writer slinging prepositional phrases like Eminem slings rhymes for the sole purpose of increasing word count?" Sometimes. "Did the writer even bother to spell check the article before submitting it to me?" If you're asking that last question, the answer is no.
So in the ongoing battle for meaningful content - here are some factors to keep in mind when reviewing or selecting writers and avoiding crappy content:
Volume (as in Amount not "Pump up the..."): If you need heart surgery, you want to go to a place that performs lots and lots of heart surgeries - like the Cleveland Clinic. Similarly, you want to select a writer that writes a lot - all day, every day. Writing completes them. They consider themselves a writer. The more of something you do, whether it's heart surgery, inbound marketing or writing, the more things you see and deal with and experience daily. You have a rhythm to what you do.
Rating: Many writing services offer ratings of writers - typically a 5 star writer is da bomb and a 2 star writer should not be putting pen to paper (or keyboard to Microsoft Word or Google Docs). You want to select 4 or 5 star writers. 3 star writers can be tricky - usually these writers have a deep level of domain area expertise that can be extremely valuable to a specific industry. They may not, however, be the most eloquent writers. In some cases, you'll have to balance the writers level of expertise with their ability to write.
Samples: Just like the NFL has its Combine for proof of future talent, writers have their writing samples. Read the samples. Ask questions about the samples. If you are unsure about the sample in any way or if you notice any errors - run Forrest run!
Wordiness: This is a pet peeve of mine. Some services pay writers by word count so they will pull crap like "not to mention the fact that" or write "in addition to" instead of the more concise "additionally." It's crappy and cheezy to do that. And very easy to notice. Less is more. Using fewer words to convey ideas powerfully is a true sign of talent.
Responsiveness: I like hungry writers, you know, the writers that accept writing opportunities readily. I once had a writer tell me she was going to be delayed because she was completing her taxes. 1) Everybody has to do their taxes 2) If you're placing tax preparation needs above being a writer and crafting articles - I'm just not that into you.
Writing Pods: Pods, teams, units - pick your term. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Don't have a basket with just one egg. If you drop either basket - you're screwed. You need a writing team. More than one person. Even if you are just writing one blog a week or writing for one client only or for your internal corporate blog, have a team. People quit or go on vacation or get writer's block. After all, there is no "I" in team. There is, however, a "me."
Hopefully,using the above factors in mind when selecting writers will help you find the writing talent you need and ultimately lead to more conversions, leads and sales. Content matters - make sure you have the best folks creating that content for you.
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